Audi continues its push into the battery-electric market, pulling the wraps off what will be its second long-range battery electric model at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
- The e-tron Sportback opts for a coupe-like design, in contrast with the original e-tron’s more traditional SUV styling.
- The two models share the same drivetrain, making 355 hp and 414 pound-feet of torque.
- Despite a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery, range will still only stretch to slightly over 200 miles.
Audi’s new e-tron Sportback doesn’t move the bar on power or range, but it is a bit sportier looking.
Much like the original
The Sportback gets a truncated trunk in the fashion of so-called “crossover coupes” like the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe. This slightly more aggressive – and aerodynamic – look is part of a strategy to help make consumers feel comfortable with electric vehicles, according to Marc Lichte, the luxury brand’s chief of design. “Step-by-step,” Lichte said, with each new model, “our designs will get more progressive,” he added, pointing to the aggressive look of the e-tron GT sports car.
A concept version of the e-tron GT was unveiled a year ago, and it will follow the Sportback into production about two years from now. Europe will get the e-tron Sportback in spring 2020, followed by U.S. sales later in the year.
Audi has taken a conservative approach on the technology front. Its twin-motor drivetrain still makes a reasonable 355 hp, but that lags a number of competitors, as does its 5.7-second 0-60 mph time. Range doesn’t change much either, at just over 200 miles per charge. One plus is the battery’s relatively quick charge time. Using one of the new, 150-kilowatt Level 3 chargers popping up across the country, it will be able to go from nearly drained to an 80% state-of-charge in barely 30 minutes.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Audi is all-in on electrification and that means we’ll be seeing more models covering a range of segments in the coming years. But as its lineup of electric vehicles expands, the underlying hardware will also need to evolve beyond today’s e-tron.